27 charged in child porn sting
Web site containing live 'molestation on demand' shut down
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales details the charges against the child porn suspects.
Most of the 27 people named in the indictments are identified only by their screen names:
G.O.D. of Clarksville, Tennessee
Acidburn of Bartlett, Illinois
Big_Daddy619 of Edmonton, Alberta
ax9572 of London, England
Entity of Manchester, England
Yyydbh5182 of North Aurora, Illinois
Behrplus_925 of Aurora, Illinois
Darkhorse of Kalamazoo, Michigan
Wharfrat of Reno, Nevada
CuLeX of Milton, Florida
A_School_Teacher of Oakfield, New York
Lord_Newbie of Charlotte, North Carolina
Alex1 of Sebring, Florida
Nemo of Phoenix, Arizona
BlueDragon of Ashgrove, Australia
Sir_CP of Victoria, Australia
DarcBiocode of Stafford, Australia
LoneWolf_95 of Brandon, Manitoba
Henry40Babe of Kingston, Ontario
Lumberjack of Woodbridge, Ontario
10_boy_canada of Selkirk, Manitoba
Fydei of Longueuil, Quebec
Msg4Homemade of Courtenay, British Columbia
LordVader of Prince Georgia, British Columbia
Msg2Trade of Toronto, Ontario
HumbleDuchess of Osceola, Iowa
Geograns of Kapolei, Hawaii
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CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- An Internet chat room that streamed video of live child molestations has been shut down and 27 people have been charged with online child pornography offenses, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials still are looking for one suspect after an undercover sting operation shut down a Web site called "Kiddypics & Kiddyvids."
It was not clear exactly how many suspects had been arrested, but Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, said, "Most have been [arrested]."
One of the seven molestation victims was younger than 18 months, according to the Justice Department. (Watch Attorney General Gonzales describe the allegations -- 2:37)
Four minors under the age of 12 also were shown on the Internet site being molested.
Immigration and customs Assistant Secretary Julie Myers on Wednesday described the chat room as "molestation on demand."
The name of two of the videos listed in the indictment are explicit; one suggests that one of the victims was a 7-year-old girl.
An indictment of three people allegedly involved in the chat room states that the host of the chat room used the screen name "G.O.D." One of those charged -- an Edmonton, Alberta, man who used the screen name "Big_Daddy619" -- allegedly distributed live videos of himself molesting the four children younger than 12.
Among those arrested is Brian A. Annoreno, of Bartlett, Illinois, who is accused of producing video of himself molesting and performing oral sex on an infant, officials said.
Annoreno's lawyer denied that charge Wednesday and said his client was not involved in distributing child pornography.
Thirteen of the people charged are from the United States, nine from Canada, three from Australia and two from England, according to the Justice Department. Charges in the United States include criminal complaints unsealed in Illinois, Tennessee, Michigan, Nevada, Florida, New York, Arizona, Hawaii and North Carolina. Most of those charged are identified only by their screen name.
Four of the suspects are accused of molestation, and the others are charged with possession, receipt, distribution and manufacture of child pornography, as well as conspiracy and other offenses.
"We plan to prosecute them and others involved in this vile chat room to the fullest extent of the law," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told reporters in Chicago, adding that the victims "are now in safe custody."
The investigation into the Web site, which was not designed to generate a profit, began 10 months ago with an arrest in Edmonton, Alberta, according to the Justice Department. Gonzales said law enforcement officials from outside the United States participated in the investigation.
The chat room, which Gonzales said contained "the worst imaginable forms of child pornography," was designed in such a way as to cloak users' activities from law enforcement, he said.
Though the Web site did not generate a profit for its administrators, access was controlled by an organized hierarchal structure that was "very concerned about security," Myers said. Without elaborating, she added only that the chat room's organizers "would ask for certain things in order to prove you weren't law enforcement."
Samborn said the structure and security of the site -- and especially the live, streaming video -- made this case stand out from other child-pornography cases.
"I've never seen anything that rivals this," Samborn said of the use of live, streaming video.
The suspects used peer-to-peer file sharing, typically used for exchanging music and movies, and private instant-messaging services to disseminate the child pornography, the Justice Department said in a news release.
Annoreno was one of three people indicted in Chicago for conspiracy to possess, receive, solicit and distribute child pornography. Also indicted were Gregory J. Sweezer of Aurora, Illinois, and Lisa A. Winebrenner of Osceola, Iowa.
The three are at the center of the investigation, said a federal law enforcement officer who asked not to be identified.
The indictment states that Sweezer sent two videos to an undercover law enforcement officer. Both videos depict a man molesting a girl younger than 12, the indictment states. Sweezer is also accused of distributing a video, the title of which suggests it contains images of a 7-year-old being molested.
On March 9, Winebrenner, who occasionally served as host of the chat room, purged her computer of pornographic images using widely available commercial software, according to the indictment.
The next day she also "discussed with the administrators of the chat room, through online communications in the chat room, a contingency plan for the continuation of the chat room in the event that she were to be arrested," the indictment states.
The Justice Department said the site's "host" was Royal Raymond Weller of Clarksville, Tennessee, who was arrested March 6.
The Justice Department also identified some administrators of the site: Jason Wilson of Milton, Florida; Michael Burns of Reno, Nevada; Kenneth Fisher of Charlotte, North Carolina; Marcel Deslauriers of Longueuil, Quebec; and Mill Park of Victoria, Australia.
CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report.
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